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Man Utd defender Harry Maguire has committed himself to the Red Devils amid exit rumours, with the centre-back convinced he has “an important role” to play on and off the pitch.
The 30-year-old made just his fifth club start since the 2022 World Cup in Thursday night’s Europa League round of 16 victory over Real Betis.
Maguire played the entire 90 minutes in Spain, helping his side keep a clean sheet as they won 1-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate.
Man Utd defender has ‘an important role’
It’s certainly a strange position for the defender to be in, with manager Erik ten Hag not playing him regularly, but Maguire often captain of the side when he does feature.
He has made 23 appearances in all competitions this season, but most have either come from the bench or have come against lesser opposition in the likes of the Europa League, FA Cup and League Cup.
The lack of appearances comes amid Ten Hag more often than not relying on Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez as his regular centre-back duo.
Despite the lack of minutes this season and the subsequent rumours linking him with an exit from Man Utd, Maguire believes he remains integral to the club.
“I have an important role on and off the field at this club and every day I try and make this club succeed whether I’m playing or not,” said Maguire, as reported by BBC Sport.
“Obviously I want to play and start more games, but I’m playing my part on and off the field. It’s nice to get out there and lead the team, which is the most important part for myself and for the group.”
Young winger impresses Ten Hag
Also starting the match and playing the full 90 minutes on Thursday night was youngster Facundo Pellistri. It was the 21-year-old’s first start for Man Utd and just his seventh appearance for the club, but Ten Hag was very impressed with what he witnessed from the attacker.
“I think all the players did very well,” said Ten Hag. “Once again the players that came in did a good job and gave a good performance. So you can see we are not just 11 players, we are a squad.
“For Facundo it was great to come in, he had some good moments. He had a good performance in training but a game is different. At the start you have to come in but you saw after some minutes he got belief and he had some really good actions.”
Man Utd battling on all fronts
Man Utd are going strong in all competitions this season, having already lifted the League Cup trophy. They continue their campaign in another competition this weekend, taking on Premier League rivals Fulham in the FA Cup quarter-finals on Sunday.
The international break will then give the squad a much-needed break before the Premier League returns, with Man Utd facing a tough trip to Newcastle up first.
And in Europe, the Red Devils find themselves facing yet another Spanish club, having been drawn to face Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-finals.
We've been drawn against Sevilla in the @EuropaLeague quarter-finals 👊#MUFC || #UEL pic.twitter.com/MffXYKDW1K
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 17, 2023